Making a Big Move? How to Feel at Home in Your New Town

bigstock--122762663Fall is the time for new beginnings, as many people begin college or grad school in different cities. A lot of companies hire new employees in the fall, which can also cause a lot of relocations. Moving to a new town can be exciting, but also can be a bit daunting when trying to get the lay of the land. In 2007, I relocated from Houston to Los Angeles for work, and I found it pretty challenging to feel at home in the midst of a big city. So if you’re getting ready to make a big move, check out some suggestions that helped me fall in love with where I live. Hopefully, you can take advantage of everything your new town has to offer!

Walk or travel by bike

Taking time to walk around where you live is a good way to fall in love with your town. When we’re driving, we are rightfully paying attention to the road, but miss the scenery and interesting places we pass by. When I moved to L.A., I’d make a point to pull over and park if I passed streets with lots of shops, and I’d get out and walk around. Also, taking a bike ride around town is a good way to explore.

Check out the museums

I am a big fan of museums, and taking time to explore some will make your new town feel like home. Many towns have historical sites and galleries where local artists display their art. I started exploring museums in Los Angeles after touring the Vatican Museum while visiting Italy, and I learned so much about the culture and history of Rome. So when I made a stop in Reykjavik, Iceland, I toured a very small museum and learned a lot about the history of Iceland and the people there. I brought my love of museums back home, and now wherever I visit, I make it a point to drop into a museum, because they tend to capture the history, culture and artistic vibe of a city best.

Connect with others with similar interests through a meet-up group

Another way to feel more connected to your new town is to join a Meetup group, which connects local people with similar interests. Most Meetup groups center around hobbies, activities, or career connections. If you have a hobby you would like to dive deeper into, this would be a nice way to get out and make friends. If you don’t currently have a hobby, now is a great time to start one! If you’d rather not join a Meetup group, look for events that also cater to certain hobbies. I love crafting so I tend to go to craft shows, such as the Renegade Craft Fair, which travels to major cities throughout the United States twice a year.

Join an exercise group

Do you like to exercise? Meet other people who share your love of staying fit. Most towns have walking groups, yoga studios, and basketball or other sports leagues you can join. If there are none that spike your interest, you could start one of your own!

Try a new restaurant

An easy way to get better acquainted with your area is to try out a new restaurant or coffee shop. You’ll see more of the neighborhood and come into contact with new people. When I first moved to Los Angeles, I tried a new restaurant once a week to experience all that L.A. had to offer. I made it a point to target any new businesses that were opening in my area and patronize those as well.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do

When I moved to California, I had never taken a yoga class before, but that seemed to be a popular thing out here, so I gave it a chance and loved it. Does your new town have a local magazine or website where they post upcoming events? If so, explore those to see what the locals are doing, and join in. This will help you to discover all the fun things your new community has to offer and fall in love with where you live.